Varma’s new Telugu film ‘Raksha’ draws inspiration from ‘Tulasi Dalam’
It is superstition until it happens to you, read the tagline for Ram Gopal Varma’s Phoonk, which released a few Fridays ago. Phoonk and his forthcoming Telugu production Raksha draw from the cult Telugu tome Tulasi Dalam. “Raksha is not based on the story of Tulasi Dalam but the premise is the same — black magic. The book has been an inspiration. The film deals with how evil forces can use black magic to destroy you and the trauma of those affected by it,” says Varma, talking to us during a short visit to the city. Raksha, starring Jagapati Babu and Kalyani, releases on September 19.
Working with Jagapati Babu
The Telugu productions from Varma in the last couple of years haven’t made a mark. “Looking back, I didn’t show enough interest in those films. I treated them as mandatory business projects,” admits Varma. This time, he insists, it is different.
“I have worked with Jagapati Babu earlier and we share similar work sensibilities. The rest of the cast and the execution have been brilliantly done by director Akella Vamsikrishna,” he says. Raksha, he also clarifies, is not a Telugu version of Phoonk. “Vamsi has changed the film to suit Telugu sensibilities.”
A confessed non-believer, Varma stays diplomatic when asked about black magic.
“I am too small a person to pass a sweeping statement on beliefs that have been debated upon for a number of years,” he maintains.
Phoonk, dismissed by most critics when it released, managed to do well at the box office. “My films are not liked by critics anyway. But I am having fun making films all the time,” laughs Varma.
“Things have changed. From having a handful of newspapers and television channels to the present scenario where at least a hundred reviews are available on the internet, one film cannot satisfy everyone.”
He draws our attention to his blog where he recently wrote: “I am fascinated to see how people run down my films, critique them, ridicule them and sometimes also deeply try to analyse my mind through my films. It is so highly entertaining to see other’s views and interpretations of my works.”
With a smile, Varma reveals, “The next Hindi film I will be directing is about the media. I am going to touch upon various aspects of the media and expose the happenings.”
Till then, stay glued for the love-hate sagas.
SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO